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Topic: Has Abbott's Been Sold?
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Aug 22, 2017 09:16AM)
A friend told me in a Telephone conversation yesterday that an announcement was made the last night of Abbott's Get-Together that Abbott's has been sold. I am NOT trying to add to this rumor. I'm just curious as to whether any of you have heard about this, and if so, would you be able to shed more light on this situation?

Thank you.
Message: Posted by: mrmagic0 (Aug 22, 2017 09:39AM)
I was told it is true.

Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Aug 22, 2017 12:45PM)
It is true, and I missed you this year at Abbott's, Rainboguy!
Message: Posted by: Mike Ince (Aug 24, 2017 07:28PM)
It is being sold in 2018 to Derek Kennedy, owner of Magic etc, a brick-and-mortar magic store for the last 33 years, in Fort Worth, Texas.

I have it on highest authority that Abbott's will stay in Colon, Michigan, and the Get Togethers will stay there as well. Abbott's is in good hands.
Message: Posted by: Gerry Walkowski (Aug 28, 2017 04:34AM)
From what I heard, what was NOT sold was the Abbott's Magic Get-Together Convention. That was NOT part of the Derek Kennedy deal.

Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Aug 30, 2017 10:50AM)
Dan Ford:

Missed seeing you too, my friend. I'm still worn out form LAST year's Get-Together!!!
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Apr 1, 2018 08:44PM)
Well, for what it's worth, now I hear that Abbott's has been UN-Sold.

Can anyone elaborate on this?
Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Apr 1, 2018 09:40PM)
That is what I heard, about a month ago Rainboguy. Who knows from one year to another?
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 8, 2018 08:06AM)
These rumors constantly start. I would think it is because there is nothing to buy. They have very little inventory, no craftsman, and no workshop plans for the hundreds of Abbott's products that were created when Percy Abbott owned the business.

If you don't get the GTG, then you are losing money. That GTG is what carries the business through each year. When I use to visit the showroom weekly, a big business was the Catalog, they had Catalogs stacked to the ceiling ready for mailing weekly. The manufacturing machines are from the 1930's and 1940's. Many do not meet OSA requirements for safety.

It was a wonderful magic business but very poorly run for the future. Percy Abbott was a Vaudeville magician, not a business man. They used Just in Time manufacturing before it was invented.

I would love to see it flourish again, but show prop magic is not being bought any longer, do to the close-up hobbyist craze going on today.
Message: Posted by: Dan Ford (Apr 8, 2018 05:47PM)
Could not have said it any better Bill!
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 9, 2018 02:23AM)
I have known Derek for many decades since we were child actors together at Casa Manana in Ft. Worth. He has built his business there out of pure passion for magic and I'm thrilled to think of how he can take Abbotts into a new generation of growth.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 9, 2018 04:13PM)
Ray, a business cannot go anywhere if there are no customers. Every person that has purchased old business never develop. Look at Sam Berland, Russell Walsh, Roydon, Thayer, Owen, and that is just the names off the top of my head. No one wants to work these days. They also don't want to hire craftsman to build the props. I was told that Abbott's employees worked for $8.00 an hour, back in the 1980's, when the going rate for low factory work, was $12.00 an hour.

Was also told by Abbott's it is easier to buy wholesale and sell other peoples magic, then manufacturer their own products. What I believe happened, was the old timers that worked for years, passed away over the years, took with them the knowledge of how to build the thousands of props that Abbott's made by them.

Unless you can find a collector that had every prop Abbott's ever made, there is no way, to make any of the props. I heard that Gordon "Mike" Miller had a huge collection of Abbott Magic, but never confirmed. He no longer works at Abbott's and may have no connection with them any longer.

Never heard of Derek Kennedy, or his magic shop, seems he never places and ad in any of the magic magazines in the last 50 years. How do you grow a business without advertising. After a little searching, found the shop mentioned, $500,000 in business revenue. 4 employees, website: www.magicetconline.com but it only leads to 404 File Not Found page.

I will buy their 1st Thimble Box Abbott's use to make, it is in their old catalog when Percy ran the place. Also want the double glass liquid production, from your bare hands.

So why would anyone buy a name only?
Message: Posted by: MJE (Apr 9, 2018 05:00PM)
[quote]On Apr 9, 2018, Bill Hegbli wrote:
Never heard of Derek Kennedy, or his magic shop, seems he never places and ad in any of the magic magazines [/quote]

The shop is called Magic Etc. and if you search that you'll find a substantial web presence. I have no idea how beneficial advertising of local magic shops is in international magic magazines, but I suspect it isn't great.
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Apr 9, 2018 06:49PM)
Bill Hegbli is right on the money.

When I first started going to Abbott's Get-Togethers about 37 years ago, there were routinely 1,000 to 1,200 magicians from all over the World who went there.

I wasn't there last year, but the year before that my friend Dick Oslund and I had a booth in the dealer's room, and if there were 500 to 600 Magicians in attendance, I would say that was a lot. Dick and I even had the chance to meet Bill Hegbli and hang out with him...we even had dinner together. Interestingly, I had many magicians I knew tell me that I literally had more props and better props for sale in my booth that Abbott's did, which, I think is a saying something. I am not knocking Abbott's.....I am just stating a fact.

In years past, the showroom was quite literally, a masterpiece of displayed Magic Props...they had everything that Abbott's made....Kegs Of Plenty, Hollow Linking Rings, a ton of feather flowers, multiplying bottles, and on and on and on. In the old days, when you walked into the showroom, your jaw literally dropped upon seeing so many wonderful Abbott's-Made props on display.

Most recently....Nope......not there.......

The focus of the Get-Togethers in years past was Magicians....today it's the general public..because they are the ones who are buying tickets to the shows and that's where Abbott's makes their money.

This is just me thinking out loud, but, and I could be VERY wrong here, but if someone wanted to buy Abbott's and put the time, effort, and money into hiring craftsmen , investing in new machinery and re-building it into what it used to be, and started turning out a full-line of quality Abbott's props (where The Abbott's decals mean something again), and widely advertised that ABBOTT'S IS BACK!........they might have something there!!!

Just my 2 cents worth...but the Abbott's brand means something........
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 10, 2018 08:24PM)
I still have my #7 Abbott's catalog, which I got in about May of 1945. I take care of my books, but that catalog has been with me for about 73 years, and, when I first got it, I nearly memorized it! The covers have disappeared, and the pages are all loose.

Of course more magicians are interested in doing close up, and, many just do tricks on the street, so the "boxes and tubes" aren't selling like they once did.

I know that my school show prop case only has ONE "box" (a Sherms made "Demon Wonder Box"(with the extra load gaff). and, it only gets used when I need an hour long show, or on very special occasions, as a pad for the 20th C Silks. --I've had it since 1954, I also still own a Merv Taylor Tambourine, and an Abbott Disecto. Both are used in the 60 minute show, but, being retired, and 86, I'm not expecting to do any more 60 minute shows! (I'm not "getting" old, I AM OLD!)

Most of the magicians that I knew, have gone to the "great Magic Show". When Rick and I attended the GTG in '16, I could count only about 5 or 6 old timers.

Heck, the "Wait Bros. Circus" (Ringling) is gone. Only a few Brick & Mortar shops are still in existence. I guess David Copperfield wont be touring any more...

Magic will never DIE, it's just going through a change...
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 10, 2018 08:53PM)
[quote]On Apr 9, 2018, MJE wrote:
[quote]On Apr 9, 2018, Bill Hegbli wrote:
Never heard of Derek Kennedy, or his magic shop, seems he never places and ad in any of the magic magazines [/quote]

The shop is called Magic Etc. and if you search that you'll find a substantial web presence. I have no idea how beneficial advertising of local magic shops is in international magic magazines, but I suspect it isn't great. [/quote]

I guess you did not read my post completely. Three is not website for Magic Etc.

I guess you are to young to know how it was back in the 1960's, There were only about 6 places to buy magic from, the others did not advertise either, therefore they did not get any mail orders. All of them only sold to local street traffic and magicians who by chance stumbled across the local magic shops. There were only maybe 6 or 7 new trick in a years time. Everything else was standard products. Douglas Magic Land advertised in back of Comic books, and national magazines.

If Derek Kennedy only has $100,000 a year in sales, I would say he does not have enough money to rebuild Abbott's Magic Manufacturing Company. It would be foolish to borrow money on such an project. Unless he has investment backer's and Texas is known to be one of states that has the most millionaires, then it might be possible if he can get 10 investors.

I believe they buy up these old companies only for bragging rights, but when they are asked what products they have for sale, they are silent or say they are to busy.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 17, 2018 12:49PM)
Just heard, the deal fell through again this time. So many rumors over the years. I'll buy it when I wind the lottery. :)
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 17, 2018 05:01PM)
If you want the sad news the Get Together is going to go the way of the T-Rex eventually. The whole idea was getting together, thus the incredibly clever name. That need seems to not really exist in the new generation. It is all about learning from You Tube and posting to show friends. Getting together is not part of the equation.

Every Saturday was a glorious time of the week at Magic Inc. You never knew who would show up to see Jay, but you had the regulars every week. It was such a great way to learn. Now that whole experience is Facebook groups.

Sorry to say the Get Together is going to fade and it is sad. The more connected the world gets the less human contact there seems to be.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 18, 2018 03:10PM)

I always enjoyed the GTG, 'cuz, there was no "politicking". It was just FUN! we met old friends, and had many great jackpot sessions. We met new friends, and started new friendships. The lectures were usually well worth our time. The evening shows were always good, and, sometimes GREAT! The late evening gatherings at the Legion, finished the day with lots of laughs, good close up magic! The Conklin Saturday night "get away" parties were a great climax.

Danny has said it well.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Apr 18, 2018 05:25PM)
What about the annual flea market and auction? What is the fate of that? I have truly enjoyed those, and picked up some really cool effects. Hope it will not be gone, too.
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Apr 19, 2018 11:20AM)
I must say that I have had some of the best times of my life at Abbott's Get-Togethers because of the shoulders I rubbed there. The time spent kibbutzing with the greats in Magic who took the time to sit down with you and talk through the "ins and outs" and the "whys and wherefores" of performing Magic has been priceless. The names are almost too numerous to mention......but you who are "in the know"...known whom I mean...

I do and continue to miss them....
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Apr 20, 2018 04:37PM)
I always enjoyed the auction. Got some cool magic, there. Will sorely miss that if it goes.
Message: Posted by: Nem (Jun 6, 2018 04:16AM)
Yes, the old days are gone. Here is a video link to the factory back in the day: https://videos.pond5.com/1954-workers-manufacture-and-practice-footage-082971462_main_xl.mp4
Message: Posted by: Julie (Jun 6, 2018 11:53AM)
Thanks for sharing, Nem!

Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jun 6, 2018 04:44PM)
I LOVE that wonderful, nostalgic look back!
Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Jun 6, 2018 09:07PM)
I have no idea about the continued viability of the Abbott's Get-Together, but I will note that for a convention that's supposedly failing, they have quite the lineup this year:

Message: Posted by: Nem (Jun 7, 2018 10:44AM)
I would not say it's failing, just not like is was back in the day. Had a different feel then.
Most of the "Greats" that once made the Get-Together extra special have passed on. While it may be different now and there are new faces, it is still a great gathering. Hope Abbott's is around for many more years and the Get-Together as well.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jun 7, 2018 03:50PM)
Have to agree. Long live Abbott's!!
Message: Posted by: Patrick Talsma (Jul 14, 2018 07:17PM)
I am so happy that I found this thread.
I have to echo too. Long live Abbotts!
I have been wondering since a delightful
Visit a few months ago and after attending
The flea market/auction a few weeks later.
I remember a couple visits in my youth in the mid seventies.
A wonderful experience indeed for a 16 year old lad.
I even remember my folks took me for my birthday, one summer,
Just after the GTG..And the shelves were bare! Lol
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jul 14, 2018 08:16PM)
Welcome to the Café, Patrick!
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Jul 24, 2018 06:35PM)
A fellow Michigander, hope to meet you some day... Ring 211 in GR is fantastic, used to regularly attend years ago. Say hey to MagicBob and PJ Weber.
Message: Posted by: Mark Holstein (Aug 13, 2018 02:41PM)
Abbott's has not been sold. It's going strong - ask anyone who attended the Get-Together this year. Four very strong evening shows (three standing ovations on Saturday). Fantastic lectures (Rocco got a standing O at his). A bustling dealer's room. And all of the charm and fun that comes with a world class magic gathering in a beautiful small Midwestern town. Registrations are now being accepted for next year.
Message: Posted by: sOnrisemagic (Aug 23, 2018 12:01AM)
I agree with Mark, I was there this year and it was great. True that it might not be as commercialized as other conventions, but I think that’s what makes it great.
Message: Posted by: David_MacFarlane (Sep 25, 2018 02:14PM)
I grew up in Canada's smallest province, with one magic mentor who didn't like me that much and died six months after I met him - the Abbots Catalog was the whole world of magic to me for many years.
Message: Posted by: James Nelson (Dec 15, 2019 03:03PM)
I used to enjoy attending Abbotts Get Together. The price kept rising until I thought it was a poor deal. If you register early be prepared for the talent line up to change before August arrives, which is disappointing. The performers who do participate often are never told they are lecturing also. I heard one magician say "If I knew I was lecturing I would have at least brought lecture notes to sell."

I purchased a special Abbott's advertised for "40 Workshop Plans" ... I should have known better because it turned out to be scribbled drawings and a few notes, which are not usable. As a millwright by trade, I expect a plan or print to include the necessary information to construct the project. Abbott's are their own worse enemy.

On the other hand, I have purchased many old tools at yard sales during magic week. People have told me their grandfather worked at Abbott's and these were the tools he made his money with.